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iPhone has 80% chance of reaching T-Mobile US this fall

updated 04:25 pm EDT, Wed July 21, 2010

iPhone for T-Mo US seen in late talks

Apple is deep into negotiation that will have an iPhone on T-Mobile US by the fall, a rumor today insists. The two are reportedly in talks at an "advanced stage," and the T-Mobile source for the story claims that the negotiations have progressed enough that it's "80 percent likely" a deal will be finished for the ongoing third quarter, which ends in September. The employee told Wired that T-Mobile's parent Deutsche Telekom directly influenced the decision.

T-Mobile already carries the iPhone in some of Europe, but its arrival in the US has always carried extra challenges compared to abroad. Due to FCC spectrum auctions, T-Mobile in the US needs to run the 1,700MHz and 2,100MHz bands for 3G. While the 2,100MHz band is common abroad and is supported by the iPhone 4, going without the 1,700MHz band would still lead to a drop to 2G in many cases. T-Mobile was also relatively late to 3G and doesn't have as wide a network as AT&T or any of the CDMA carriers.

However, a T-Mobile phone is potentially more realistic for Apple from a design perspective. As it already uses GSM, the iPhone 4 wouldn't need to be redesigned for a new cellular chipset and the absence of a SIM card slot. Apple has said in the past that it was happy with GSM as it meant producing a single phone design that could still address the majority of the world.

An expansion to T-Mobile in the US could be just part of a much larger strategy to service every major carrier. Rumors have been gathering momentum for a Verizon iPhone by January that would start production right as it's claimed T-Mobile would have its agreement. Discussions of a Sprint model have also surfaced but have had little support other than that it would make sense to offer a CDMA iPhone on more than one US provider.

A multi-carrier iPhone strategy in the US would both reflect the expected end of AT&T's exclusivity sometime this year as well as Apple's determination to thwart Google. Much of the success of Android so far has been partly due to its isolation from the iPhone on carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon. Without Apple as an option, customers on other networks have had to switch providers and endure both porting difficulties and possible early cancellation fees just to get an iPhone. Although hard to predict, a Verizon iPhone alone could stunt the growth of Android, and a T-Mobile version could have a reduced but similar effect.

by MacNN Staff



  1. TujuMaster

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It doesn't surprise me....w91t

    It doesn't surprise me but I think T-Mobile would be a great fit. One thing that I'm interested in seeing is if the iPhone 4 is penta band. No one has reported that it has one but that's where Canada comes in. Canada does have carriers that use the same frequency as T-Mobile USA and, since the iPhone 4 is unlocked in Canada, then it begs the question, did Apple include a penta band chip for the Canadian iPhone? I guess we'll find out and if it does, then a T-Mobile iPhone would be as simple as shipping it to the carrier.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Makes perfect sense

    T-Mobile uses GSM, so although it's incompatible with AT&T's GSM implementation, it's just a small matter of programming to get iPhone 4 to work on T-Mobile. Far easier than creating a separate CDMA phone for Verizon or upgrading the iPhone 4 to a dual-mode GSM/CDMA chip. Looks like it would be using the 2100MHz band.

    From Wikipedia re: T-Mobile: "T-Mobile USA uses the 1700/2100 MHz AWS Band for its 3G network. "

    From Apple re: iPhone 4 specs: "Cellular and wireless - UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)"

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    My TMO contract is up in October (original G1 adopter). I love Android, but would go for the iPhone if I could keep TMO service.

  1. redcapzero

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A few weeks back, I spoke with a T-Mobile rep regarding my need to dump a selected service, I mentioned (in light hearted fashion) that I'd revive the service as soon as your company nails down a i-Phone contract. There was a slight pause, after which with sly good natured temperment, she responded with a "yep, a STRONG possibility".
    Will gladly re-up with another 2 yr contract (month to month here) and purchase an i-Phone if indeed this "rumor" becomes reality. LOVE IT !

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2010


    comment title

    Finally! It's about time we heard from the only other REAL network in the USA and not just those pile of trash monopolistic CDMA networks. Put it on T-Mobile, keep it off the CDMA crappers. If they want an iPhone, then they can do what Bell did, create a HSPA+ network.

  1. macnnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    As long as Apple is willing to pay for it--

    I wonder if T-Mobile has enough clout to make this stick-

  1. Chud73

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It would be in the

    Best interest of Apple to add at least one more carrier for the iPhone. I don't think the networks at AT&T are going to improve anymore then they are now until they start making the switch to 4G. With Google's Android gaining ground with each of the cell carriers, the only way to continue the growth they have with AT&T is to add at least one other. T-Mobile would be good choice if only the fact they wouldn't have to do much other then reprogram some software etc. But can their networks handle it? Can their network handle the amount of people, who normally wouldn't make the switch from Verizon, Sprint, and move over to AT&T; now move to T-Mobile? But I think Verizon will have the iPhone sometime soon.

  1. Fides

    Joined: Dec 1969


    multiple carriers makes sense

    There is no AT&T service in South Dakota and thus no iPhones either. Market share will definitely grow if it becomes available on other carriers.

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